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In strictly technical terms, this album by Veil of Maya keeps up with the line of their previous releases; entertainment-wise, by pure paradox, [ID] drags the whole experience down, since getting served the same dish over and over again wears out its purpose over time. With that borne in mind, I do admit that the most significant indegrient of their "dish" is variety, and since as far as I'm concerned, this band's faults are something the vast majority of deathcore bands could only aspire to, so I'll just might cut them some slack; with their next album, however, I won't go as gentle.
The most interesting thing about this release lies in the high technical level of the band members, especially those of their guitarist, combined with his impressive songwriting skills that incorporate the use of the whole extent of his guitar. [ID] basically takes the concepts of modern metal and flip them on their face, so instead of attempting to save an otherwise dull and boring song with a blistering solo - something the "old-scholars" among you seem to embrace with pride - they even out the technicality all throughout the album, keeping the verses intricate and compelling on one hand - along with the desired amount of hooks with some "cheese" on top, for good measure, on the other. This perception of music-making renders this album exceptionally enjoyable, especially given the genre in question, with some truly flabbergasting moments hitting you along the way; you can check out the clever sequence of both low and high notes mashed together to form the opening riff for "Mowgli" as an reference (available at their MySpace), chances you wouldn't regret it. The tracks of the album are kept short and interlinked between them, lashing at you as a stampede. I could have said "unstoppable", yet sadly - it ends too quickly.
There are several lunges downhill on [ID] I couldn't neglect even if I wanted to, that I'd like to bring up - first off, the amount of breakdowns/chuggers gets a bit over the top. I mean, it's not like I didn't know what I was dipping into, but still - breakdowns aren't that much of an artistic achievement to warrant separate tracks dedicated only to them, and it's not like their cumulative length adds or subtracts that much from the album's ridiculous span of 20-something minutes (that's another minus), so it could have been better if they were omitted at once. The one thing that should NOT been omitted is the twenty seconds of awesomeness of the intro to "Namaste", that have been in the web-released version of the song yet are absent in the album version.
Overall: All in all, [ID] is an effort decent enough to keep you entertained until Periphery's S/T arrives at your mail. If you dig the genre - you'd love this album. If, however, you have any presumptions toward this genre - and I bet you do - [ID] won't change them that much, but if, for reasons unknown, you wake up one day stranded by scene kids and forced into listening to deathcore, yet given the privilege to choose an album - "[ID]" should be the album of your choice. Or "Rareform".
[Favorite tracks: Mowgli, Namaste, Conquer]
I found this album under the $9.99 sticker for new releases at Hot Topic (ahahaha you say). I sampled it on their little computer sample thing and found the intros to all the songs to be done very well. The vocals were good enough for me to buy it.
Normally, buying a CD from Hot Topic without knowing much about the band doesn't work well for me (oh hello Alesana, I didn't see that you were an emo band). But this is one of the few times I can honestly say I am happy with my purchase.
First off, the instrumental first track doesn't do the CD justice. The background synth thing is very annoying and doesn't belong here, but if you block that out and listen to the drums and guitar, it's very good. This switches to "Unbreakable", which has one of the coolest beginnings to any *core song I've ever heard in my life. The guitars have good riffs and rhythm. It's one of those songs you shake your head really fast to. The vocals come in with Brandon's high vocals, which are very well done. He then switches to his low vocals for a line. His low vocals are good too, but very common in metal these days and doesn't stand out at all.
The drums and bass are well done, but don't really deserve a big mention. Good drumming and bass are very common, or maybe people just don't focus on them as much. I have to say the drums though, are most likely the best I've heard for a while (for cores).
The rest of the songs on the CD are just as good. It's for sure one of the few great music items you can buy at Hot Topic, and it's for $10 for a while, so go get it (sample it first though, because I can't account for everybodies taste).